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Group Warns Maryland's Online Voter Registration Could Lead To Fraud

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An advocacy group in Maryland is calling the state's new online voter registration system "hacker friendly." 

Maryland's new Online Voter Registration system closed this week when the deadline passed Oct. 16. But the nonprofit Save Our Votes believes the registrations that did go through the system were wide open for tampering. 

This is mainly because of how the state was verifying voter identities, says Rebecca Wilson, who works with the group.

"What is used as their signature, approving their registration change or new registration, is their driver's license or motor vehicle administration ID number," she says. "It turns out not very secure."

It's a problem, Wilson says, because some websites can retrieve your drivers license number using your name and your birthday. She demonstrates on a laptop.

"And I hit submit and it tells me what my driver's license number is and in this case, that's true. That is showing my actual driver's license number," she says. 

Using this entry into a record, fraudulent groups could possibly change voter addresses, says Wilson. Say a Prince George's County voter's address is changed to one in St. Mary's County. He or she could have problems voting on Election Day.

But the State Board of Elections refutes the claim, saying the system is secure. Staff is monitoring it for any unusual activity, says board of elections deputy administrator Ross Goldstein.

"I think what is doing in theory or technically what could happen with the system, and what could actually happen given all the processes that are in place are very different," Goldstein says. 

The address change scenario preventing someone from voting is highly unlikely, because the state sends a confirmation letter to each updated address, adds Goldstein.

"If you're voter registration gets sent to me, I'm obviously going to pick up the phone and call the election office and say, 'Why did I just get somebody's voter registration confirmation notice. They don't live here," says Goldstein.

Wilson and Save our Votes are urging Maryland voters to check their addresses before Election Day on the state Board of Elections website.


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